The drive for revenue and the desire to improve the customer experience are converging within financial services, with one of the results being a renewed interest in new customer onboarding. On the revenue side, the importance of onboarding is clearer. A new customer who leaves after opening a new account is an expensive proposition. For something like deposit accounts, that attrition rate is somewhere between 25% to 30% of new customers, and when you add up the cost to acquire the account, the cost to open the account, and the potential loss of ongoing revenue, the impact can be huge to a financial services firm.

On the customer experience side, a new revelation has surfaced. Onboarding is to financial services what out-of-box is to companies like Apple computer. Apple sweats the details around the experience of getting, opening, and engaging with their devices. Financial service companies do little in that way, but that is changing with a renewed desire to improve the customer experience. That is where onboarding comes in. Onboarding is the out-of-box experience for financial service product. It is the processes and experience new customers have as they activate and utilize a new product.

Forrester just published a document that outlines our strategic thinking about how best to approach new customer onboarding from an organization, metrics, strategy, and execution perspective. I would also encourage you to take a look at work that Harland Clarke, JD Power, and other firms have done with justifying onboarding from a customer experience and dollars and cents perspective.